Dennis K. Baxley
|Dennis K. Baxley|
|Member of the Florida Senate
from the 12th district
November 8, 2016
|Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 23rd district
24th (2000-2007, 2010-2012)
November 2, 2010 – November 8, 2016
|Preceded by||Kurt Kelly|
|Succeeded by||Stan McClain|
November 7, 2000 – June 26, 2007
|Preceded by||George Albright|
|Succeeded by||Kurt Kelly|
August 22, 1952 |
|Spouse(s)||Ginette Begín Baxley|
|Children||Micah, Justin, Damon, Jeffrey, Renee|
|Alma mater||Central Florida Community College (A.A.)
Florida State University (B.S.)
Miami-Dade Community College (A.S.)
|Profession||Funeral home director|
Dennis K. Baxley (born August 22, 1952) is a Republican State Senator and former State Representative for Florida. Since 2016 he has represented the 12th district, which includes Sumter County and parts of Lake and Marion Counties in Central Florida. He previously served in the Florida House of Representatives, representing parts of Marion County from 2000 to 2007 and again from 2010 until his election to the Senate. He served on the Belleview City Commission and as its mayor.
Baxley sponsored stand your ground legislation, opposed a two year moratorium on the sale of AR-15s, delayed the Florida Slavery Memorial, and supports preserving Confederate memorials, statues, and flags. A devout Southern Baptist, he is a father of five including two adopted children.
Baxley is a fifth-generation Floridian He was born in Ocala and attended Central Florida Community College, graduating with an associate degree in 1972. He then attended Florida State University, receiving degrees in sociology and psychology in 1974. Following this, Baxley attended Miami-Dade Community College, where he received a degree in funeral service in 1975. He returned to Ocala, where he founded Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services. Baxley was elected to the Belleview City Commission and later served as Mayor.
Florida House of Representatives
When incumbent State Representative George Albright, was unable to seek re-election in 2000 due to term limits, he ran to succeed him in the 24th District, which included central Marion County. He faced George Onett in the Republican primary, whom he defeated easily, winning 86% of the vote. In the general election, Baxley defeated Judy Johnson, the Democratic nominee, with 58% of the vote. When he ran for re-election in 2002, he encountered Lida Throckmorton, the Libertarian, whom he defeated in a landslide, with 77% of the vote. Baxley won re-election in 2004 without opposition. In 2006, he faced James Walker, an Iraq War veteran and the Democratic nominee, in his bid for re-election. During the course of the campaign, Walker was called back up for active service in Iraq, and considered exiting the campaign, but noted, "I think Marion County would be better off without Dennis Baxley." Baxley ended up defeating Walker by a wide margin, winning 56% of the vote to Walker's 44%.
When State Senator Nancy Argenziano resigned from her seat to accept an appointment to the Florida Public Service Commission, a special election was called to replace her. Baxley and fellow State Representative Charles Dean announced that they would resign from their seats in the legislature on May 1, 2007, to run to succeed her. Over the course of the campaign, Dean attacked Baxley for raising taxes, increasing insurance premiums, and allowing phone rates to skyrocket. Baxley lost to Dean in the Republican primary, receiving only 44% of the vote to Dean's 56%.
When Kurt Kelly, who replaced Baxley in the Florida House of Representatives in a 2007 special election, opted to run for the United States House of Representatives rather than seek re-election, Baxley ran to succeed him. He won the Republican primary unopposed, and faced Michael Hageloh, the Democratic nominee and a businessman. This was Hageloh's first run for political office and his campaign was overwhelmingly self-funded. Baxley campaigned on his experience and institutional knowledge, saying, "I believe in recycling, so I guess I'm the green candidate. I believe I can recycle some of the experience I've learned and go there and make a difference for Marion County." Baxley defeated Hageloh in a landslide, winning 64% of the vote to Hageloh's 36%.
When legislative districts were redrawn in 2012, Baxley was moved into the 23rd District, which contained most of the district that he previously represented in the 24th District. He won both the primary and general elections unopposed. In 2014, Baxley was re-elected to the House without opposition.
While serving in the legislature, Baxley sponsored a stand-your-ground law that attracted attention in 2012 when George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin. Despite this, however, Baxley did not feel as though the legislation applied to the case, noting, "I still don't think it applies. Nothing in this statute authorizes 'pursuit, confront, provoke.'"
Baxley announced that he intended to run for the Florida Senate in 2016 to replace term-limited senator Charles Dean, who defeated him in 2007. Baxley won his three-way Republican primary by just 633 votes. He faced no opposition in the general election.
- Latham Carr, Susan (September 2, 2006). "Marion County state representative candidate called for duty in Iraq". The Gainesville Sun. Retrieved December 15, 2013.
- Follick, Joe (May 1, 2007). "Baxley, Dean resign seats". Star-Banner. Retrieved December 15, 2013.
- Hiers, Fred (June 6, 2007). "Citrus County's Charles Dean wins GOP primary to replace Argenziano". Star-Banner. Retrieved December 15, 2013.
- Alexander, Jackie (October 30, 2010). "Baxley wants another shot at State House seat, but newcomer Hageloh stands in the way". Star-Banner. Retrieved December 15, 2013.
- Bousquet, Steve (April 21, 2012). "Meet Dennis Baxley, the lawmaker who always stands his ground". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved December 15, 2013.
- Henderson, Jeff (September 5, 2013). "Dennis Baxley Turns His Eyes to Running for Senate in 2016". Sunshine State News. Retrieved December 15, 2013.
- Hiers, Fred (August 30, 2016). "Baxley narrowly edges O'Toole in state Senate race". Daily Commercial. Retrieved 9 October 2016.